“If you believe some people on the internet today, R2K theology is the antichrist. They want their neo-Kuyperianism unchallenged over the Reformed world today. But is radical Two Kingdoms so antithetical to the Gospel and to the Reformed faith?”
As a Rabbi (per Darryl Gnostic Hart) I think I can speak to this.
Is R2K (when I will get some royalties for coining that phrase?) antithetical to the Gospel and the Reformed faith? Well, it depends on what you mean by “antithetical.” If you are asking whether or not R2K in the abstract is antithetical to the Gospel, in the Gospel’s narrow sense, then I would have to say “no.” If you are asking whether or not R2K is antithetical to Christianity in Christianity’s broadest sense, then it would depend upon which discussion I was most recently in.
The Reformed faith has ALWAYS been a comprehensive and totalistic world and life view. If you question this pick up the “Calvin in the Public Square” series by David Hall or Joe Boot’s “Mission of God.” R2K denies that the Christian faith is comprehensive and totalistic with its denial that grace impinges upon nature. R2k has a Gospel that justifies the abstracted individual and champions a Gospel that is denuded of its public square implications. Can the Church speak on Cultural Marxism in the public square? R2K says …
“No, the Church can not speak against the enemy that is trying to kill Christianity, as Cultural Marxism saturates the public square for that would be impious to do so.”
Rev. K writes,
One could argue that the R2K theology is simply trying to rid the Gospel of all the accretions to the gospel that have been trying to creep in unawares. When I read Michael Horton, for instance, I see a man who is trying with all his might to keep the Gospel the Gospel and to forbid anything else from encroaching on the territory of the Gospel. That’s his heart. I know it is.
And one could argue that R2K is simply trying to rid Christianity from declaiming against the sins of the zeitgeist so that large Church Presbyterianism can be achieved again. When I read Michael Horton I read a man with the best of intentions but who just does not understand that the Gospel can’t be abstracted from a Christian world and life view.
Rev. K writes,
Ultimately, why would such vitriol be leveled against R2K folk?
Rabbi Bret responds,
You mean the kind of vitriol that says “Don’t trust Dr. Kloosterman”? You mean the kind of vitriol that finds D. G. Hart character assassinating me every time I turn around? You mean the kind of vitriol that Meredith Kline splashed around against Dr. Greg Bahnsen?
“With its gifted and energetic leadership, this movement held the promise of great good. The tragedy of Chalcedon is that of high potential wasted – worse than wasted, for its most distinctive and emphatically maintained thesis is a delusive and grotesque perversion of the teaching of Scripture.”
You mean the kind of vitriol that had T. David Gordon saying,
“It (Theonomy) is not merely the view of the unwise, but the view of the never-to-be-wise, because it is the view of those who wrongly believe that scripture sufficiently governs this arena, and who, for this reason, will never discover in the natural constitution of the human nature or the particular circumstances of given peoples what must be discovered to govern well and wisely.”
And what shall we say of the vitriol of a formerly popular blog referenced above?
But hey … Theological controversy always makes vitriol the number one drink in the saloon, and as such, I don’t mind much – water off a duck’s back and all that – except when the vitriol flingers complain and whine about vitriol being flung about.
Rev. K. offered,
Aren’t the matters concerning church and state secondary to the Gospel?
Not, if the State by its policy is seeking to wipe out Christianity. This is the reality that we are in, in America right now.
Rev. K says,
If they aren’t secondary, then I would argue that one side has made the Gospel something much bigger than it actually is. Church-state relations are secondary matters, not primary. And that should be true whether one is R2K or Neo-Kuyperian. I do not see the same kind of vitriol coming from the R2K guys against Neo-Kuyperianism, with the possible exception of Darryl Hart, and even he is a lot more light-hearted (Harted?) than most people credit him.
Rabbi Bret responds,
When the State becomes the idol du jour, seeking to be God walking on the earth then the law that is the red hot needle that pulls through the scarlet thread of the Gospel must inveigh against the idol state that people might repent of their sin and embrace the God of the Bible. A people infatuated with the God state will always reinterpret Christianity in light of the God State and so Church and State become a major issue to the Gospel because it is the idol that must go.
Rev. K. offers,
Also, I don’t trust Nelson Kloosterman anymore. He has written an encomium on the back of a book that defends Norman Shepherd. He has always been a Klaas Schilder fan. I think Kloosterman is soft on FV issues.
Was Schilder ever disciplined as a heretic? Has Kloosterman ever been disciplined as a heretic?
Rev. K. writes,
Regardless of what one thinks of Kloosterman, I don’t think this board should tolerate accusations against the R2K guys of distorting the Gospel. I think we have been generally pretty careful about this. But I would especially exhort the Neo-Kuyperians among us- why are you posting what you are posting? Is this going to promote understanding or polarization? We have much to learn from the R2K guys. I think especially Neo-Kuyperians have much to learn from R2K folks. If only there could be open minds.
I have nothing to learn from R2K theologians when they are in their R2K mode.
This is why the Green Baggins blog has always been such a joke.
Rev. K. writes
The main reason I am saying this is that Neo-Kuyperianism has had pretty much a free reign in Reformed circles during the last century. And yet, Van Drunen does offer significant evidence that 2K theology was much more prominent in the Reformation eras than it is today. This is a strand of Reformed thinking, not just Lutheran thinking. We need to give this a fair hearing, and vitriol against the 2K position isn’t going to help matters. Remember this Proverb (18:13): “He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.” There’s a lot of that going on today on the internet.
Rabbi Bret responds,
Dr. Venema has exposed the problems with Dr. Van Drunnen’s book and some of the errant conclusions he reaches regarding past eras. Dr. James Anderson has exposed the contradictory problems w/ Dr. Van Drunnen’s book. Dr. John Frame has exposed the errors in Dr. Van Drunen’s book. Dr. Keith Mathison, speaking for Ligonier has raised some serious (and I think unanswerable) questions regarding Van Drunen’s book. Dr. Mark Dever’s interview with Dr. Van Drunen exposes the folly of R2K, and that quite without even trying. Dr Brad Littlejohn has done a fine expose of the problems with Van Drunen.
Legions are the problems that have been exposed regarding R2K by good men and for the most part silence in answering those critiques have been the response.
R2K … Mene Mene Tekel Upharsin.